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Sunday, March 17, 2013

Eat, Drink & Be Merry...

... For tomorrow, It's Eat, Drink & Be Merry Again!

Iguana Bread
Happy St. Paddy's Day to all, with or without green beer on your menu. Our day started with a not-so-Irish brunch at the home of our friends Jan and Tom, bakers of some of the finest bread in all of Costa Rica. Most every week at the feria we pick up a loaf of Tom's whole wheat French or Layne's favorite Iguana Bread, so named not because it includes iguana in its ingredients (thank goodness!) but for the seed-encrusted and carved brown top reminiscent of that reptile's crested and craggy back.

St. Paddy's Day Brunch 
Another of Tom's fabulous recipes is Almond Sticky Buns. Oh, wow! They are beyond decadent. And happily today they were on our brunch menu, but sliced and grilled, of all things. Along with papaya, mango and blueberry fruit salad, perfect home fried potatoes, breakfast burritos with guacamole, salsa and natilla (sour cream), coffee and fresh juice, it was a banquet fit for royalty. 

The view toward Grecia... looks chilly to me!
Enjoying the feast along with us was a couple from Grecia, which is up the mountain we can see from our house. With a home at the 4200' level, Dave and Marsha enjoy the cooler weather found at that elevation. It's too chilly for me but they come from Michigan so it probably feels downright tropical up there to them.

Today was the third installment of what has been another party-filled weekend. On Friday we feted our dear friends Sally and Leonard who have decided to head back to the States soon to embark on their next adventure: traveling in a new hotrod RV (complete with a fireplace!) and volunteering as hosts at national parks around the country. So along with Marcial and Seidy, who spend most every Friday evening with us, we enjoyed lively conversation, a few bottles of wine and a nice sautéed veggie dish with browned butter and Parmesan cheese over angel hair pasta. We will certainly miss Sally and Leonard who have been buenos amigos but we wish them well as they take off for a new life and exciting times ahead.

Yesterday was party time around the pool at Bonnie and Stephen's home in honor of Stephen's childhood friend Seth who just arrived from San Francisco for a visit. Hail, hail, the Santa Eulalia gang was all there: Marcial and Seidy and two of their sons, Felipe and Daniel (only David, who works on weekends, was missing), their friend Johan, Chris and Sue, Marc and Eroca, me and Layne and the newest members of our posse, Carmen and Roberto. Beginning with Carmen's excellent mango ceviche, huge fruit salad and her now-famous salsa verde, the food just kept coming: slow-cooked beans and pork loin, potato/bean salad, sweet coconut couscous salad and finally Chris' incredible stuffed chicken. Naturally, Eroca brought one of her outrageous desserts, this time a banana-chocolate chip cake that was muy rico. The sunny weather was perfect and Sue even improvised a net for volleyball, giving some of the group a chance to splash each other like kids at camp. Quite a day!

Volleyball in the pool
What a cake!
It hasn't been all food and parties this week, however, as we did get in a rather energetic hike last weekend as well. Following the same route we took a few weeks back along Calle Vanilla, we came again to the residence where on our previous visit the Tico family had just killed a large snake that was guilty of poaching their chickens. Our indefatigable guide Marcial had pre-hiked our road the day before and made arrangements with the sweet Tica there to have some cool drinks ready for us when we arrived. Her homemade lemonade hit the spot for us tired hikers and the throng of orchids in bloom was a feast for the eyes. (Click on these photos to enlarge; they are worth a closer look!)

Hikers Layne and Stephen take a break
Most of these are the spectacular Guaria Morada, the national flower of Costa Rica, whose rich purple tones and shimmering petals bloom from January through April. The yard was absolutely filled with their blossoms along with other varieties, all hugging the trees and spilling out from every corner. As we learned from Marcial, the elderly lady had been born in this house and, she said, she expected to be there when she "goes home to God."

Gabriel and Alu 
Although fortunately not heading home to God just yet, last Monday night we did have to say goodbye to Marcial's son Gabriel and his family as they prepared to head back to their home in Germany. Marcial's backyard, where the fire pit makes an inviting setting for good friends to gather, was the scene for our farewell get-together. After five months here in Costa Rica, I know they found it hard to face a return to work and the obligations of "normal" life. As a fitting finale to our fiesta, Gabriel and Alu serenaded the group with German and Spanish songs, a nostalgic ending to their visit and an evening we will all long remember with pleasure. Bon voyage, amigos, y regresan muy pronto!

Check out Layne's book "Moral Turpitude," available for only $2.99 at High adventure with corporate intrigue, danger and romance; from the exotic jungles of Borneo and Costa Rica to the erotic jungles of San Francisco. Sample or purchase at --


  1. Read Layne's book and liked it. A bit raunchy in places, but well paced. Enjoyed it.

  2. We also enjoy Tom's Bread ... maybe it is Jans? Would love to get to know you all ... Grecia isn't cold at all, but if you want to cool off, come to our house in San Luis de Grecia ... es muy fresco! (I wrote, while wearing a sun dress and a polar fleece jacket!)

  3. Another reader--and fan-- of Moral Turpitude. Since I don't read a lot of "action" or "thriller" type books, that's the aspect I most enjoyed about it.

    Hey you guys, sounds like the Pura Vida party goes on. I miss CR even tho I was only there for ten days.

  4. How come there's a "delete" button below my comment?

    Thanks for visiting my blog, Kat. I agree about Billy Joel being brilliant, but as far as I know he's not writing about getting old.